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King Saud University’s Islamic Finance Index | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Many people reading this article will search for these indexes before they finish reading. Does King Saud University really have Islamic finance indexes, or is it just a wish? Anyone following Islamic financial affairs would realize that this is merely a wish, not a reality, and King Saud University is yet to introduce Islamic financial indexes. It is the wish of the writer of this article, hoping to promote this industry and put the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – the country of the Two Holy Mosques and the Kiblah for all Muslims across the world – in its rightful place as an ‘incubator’ for the industry, and its most important global financial centre.

What prompted me to express this wish is the prosperity that King Saud University enjoys these days in all fields of academia and research, under the leadership of Dr. Abdullah al-Othman. In his era, the university has become a destination for all researchers, and a desire for all learners. It has managed to compete with international universities in areas of research and development, and this has been positively reflected in its international ranking. For the first time, King Saud University was ranked among the world’s top 400 universities, according to Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s ranking, considered to be the most apt ranking system at academic level. The university was also ranked 164th internationally according to the Spanish WebMatrix ranking, and 247th internationally according to the London Times Newspaper. Whilst taking such confident strides, excelling in academia, the university is in dire need of expanding to new and unprecedented fields of scientific research. This would help to distinguish it from other academic institutions worldwide, so it can be a reference for researchers, or those who are interested in the field.

I propose that King Saud University should issue Islamic financial indexes, focussing on issues such as the Shariaa quality of Islamic financial institutions, customer satisfaction, profitability and Islamic financial markets. This would bring the university both distinction and international fame. Islamic finance today has become the centre of global attention and the focus of financial markets in general. It is becoming the talk of the most renowned media corporations i.e. “The Wall Street Journal”, “The Financial Times”, “The Economist”, “Forbes” and “Thomson Reuters” etc. Evidence of the importance of the industry, and its influence on global markets, can be observed when major financial data providers like “Thomason Reuters” and “Dow Jones” establish separate Islamic finance departments. Harvard University has adopted an annual conference dedicated to Islamic finance, which is now in its ninth year.

In announcing my wish at this particular time, I reflect my complete confidence that Islamic finance will draw the attention of Dr. Abdullah al-Othman. He has spared no effort to make his university truly distinguished, and able to compete with prestigious international universities on an equal footing.

The university’s issuance of financial indexes will be nothing new in the academic field, as numerous financial and economic indexes are today being issued by international universities. Perhaps, the most renowned in this field are the indexes issued by Michigan University, focusing on U.S. consumer confidence and inflation expectations. Numerous investors eagerly await the issuance of these indexes, before they can take investments decisions. If King Saud University issued Islamic financial indexes, they would hopefully become an influential factor in financial markets, like those of Michigan University, due to the university’s high credibility amongst customers and investors.